As I write this morning, the BBC news alerts from my phone breaks the silence at my kitchen table. They interrupt this fresh and bright Spring morning with stories, today from Brussels, of fear, pain, and the grief and trauma that is to come.
The playful Spring posy of flowers in the jug next to me seem to shrink in the light of the darkness that is wreaking havoc in our world, the new life of each daffodil opening seems mocked in the face of such evil.
My prayers seem small. My hands and feet that Jesus says are His healing touch to the world seem even smaller. How can anything be enough to overcome all this?
But this bright beautiful March morning is defiant in the face of our sorrow, reflecting, just maybe, a heavenly battle cry that says:
The light will shine in the darkness… and the darkness will NOT overcome it.
As we stand on our Riverbank this Easter, in our corner of this world, there are so many situations that if I looked down the face of them, would seem too great to overcome. They are mountains of grief and pain and brokenness that are too high for a human being to climb. I might find myself sitting with the disciples in that upper room in the dark the day after Jesus’ death filled with disappointment and confusion. Small and forgotten. Feeling overcome.
Are not 5 Sparrows sold for 2 pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of you head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12 v6-7
Our God is the God who sees the small. Our God stoops down low and watches the sparrow in flight, watches where they fall and knows them all. Sparrows. Small and fragile. He has not forgotten them. And He does not forget us. He cannot. Because our names and the story of our lives are etched by nails upon His hands and feet, and seared by thorns across His brow. He has shown His love to this ragged world for all time, He has already proved Himself faithful to us. It is, unquestionably, the greatest love story we have to tell to those whose hope has been strangled, to those who have felt the sting of evil and sin through abuse, rejection, abandonment and violence.
And it’s a story with a promised ending. A sealed ending won upon the cross that cannot be changed or undone. No matter what the battle we face in this life, and oh, how we know those battles; the promise of Jesus is that He will be forever ours. He will make us forever His when we say yes to His offer of life. Such love, such peace and a hope of an eternal future with Him, even in the greatest trial, will not be taken away from us.
One of our lovely mums who has recently become a Christian shared with me just the other day of the hole in her life that she has never been ever to fill, in good times or bad, being completely filled by the love of Jesus for her. That even though life still has its difficulties and trials, she knows she is not alone. She is not forgotten and never will be.
To be known, to be loved, to be valued, even in the pit of our pain, is the joy that awaits us all in the loving arms of the Father. And it was won for us. It is a joy won for us every day by a King who invites us to trust Him with our lives, who waits for us to invite Him into the darkness of our hearts that He would shine bright and overcome the darkness for us.
He always does it for us. He is the God of little sparrows who has set us free to fly. This Holy Week, at Riverbank, as we approach the Cross, as we look ahead to a glorious resurrection Sunday, that’s our faith-filled thankful cry to our good good Father… there is no darkness too black for Him to shine in, no depth of sin or pain too deep for Him to plummet. And our prayer is that we might be those who with a joy filled battle cry will proclaim these words so beautifully written over 100 years ago, over the families that we care for,
I Sing because I’m happy,
I Sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the Sparrow,
And I know that He watches me…
(Civilla D. Martin… His Eye is on the Sparrow)